Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry is a brilliantly funny exploration of the Sunshine State from the man who knows it best: Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times–bestselling author Dave Barry.
Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury is a comprehensive guide to the art of wilderness survival. Written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, the book is based on the 5Cs of Survivability–cutting tools, covering, combustion devices, containers, and cordages–and provides readers with only the most important survival skills to help them craft resources from their surroundings and truly experience the beauty and thrill of the wilderness.
Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care is a book written by Dave Canterbury and Jason A. Hunt, PhD.
You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers is a novel about two friends, Will and Hand, who embark on a journey around the world after their childhood friend Jack is killed in a highway accident.
House Lust by Daniel McGinn is a book that explores the obsession of Americans with their homes. Through interviews and research, McGinn delves into the reasons why people have become so invested in their homes, from the dot-com meltdown to easy financing.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is a book written by Daniel Pink that explores the science of motivation and how it has changed over time. In this book, Pink argues that traditional reward-and-punishment models of motivation are outdated and ineffective in today’s economy.
The Commanding Heights by Daniel Yergin is a book that tells the story of the epic twentieth-century battle between socialists and market advocates.
It traces the rise of free markets during the last century as well as the process of globalization. The authors illustrate how eagerly totalitarians have—and in the future, will—pounce on every economic crisis as an opportunity to grasp more power.
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time is a best-selling book by Dava Sobel about John Harrison, an 18th-century clockmaker who created the first clock (chronometer) sufficiently accurate to be used to determine longitude at sea—an important development in navigation.
How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie is a self-help classic which addresses one of the leading causes of physical illness, worry, by showing you simple and actionable techniques to eliminate it from your life. The book is packed with stories that reveal helpful lessons and practical frameworks to help you start living more fully and without the harmful effects of worry.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely is a book that explores the hidden forces that shape our decisions and how they are far less rational than we think.
Stumbling on Happiness is a book written by Daniel Gilbert, a distinguished Harvard psychology professor and winner of numerous awards for both his teaching and research.
What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Howe is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book that offers a synthesis history of the early-nineteenth-century United States. It starts with the end of the War of 1812 and ends with the invention of the telegraph. The book interweaves accounts of national politics, new communication technologies, emergent religions, and mass reform movements to provide a comprehensive narrative of the period. It was published in 2007 as part of the Oxford History of the United States series.
Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk is an epistolary novel that follows the story of a young adult from a totalitarian state sent to the US disguised as an exchange student.
Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer by Chuck Thompson is an acerbic and savagely funny account of the world from the perspective of a professional traveler.
To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism by Chuck Thompson is a book about facing one’s fears and embracing extreme tourism.
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins is a speculative fiction novel set in a dystopian California. The story follows two main characters, Luz and Ray, who are living together in an abandoned mansion in the Hollywood Hills when they come across a strange two-year-old child, Ig. This forces them to consider leaving Los Angeles for the greener pastures of the eastern states where Ray was born.
Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron is a travel book that chronicles the author’s eight-month journey along the ancient trade route from eastern China to Turkey.
The book is an exploration of the history, culture, and people of the Silk Road, as well as a reflection on the changes that have taken place in the region over the past few decades.
American Nations by Colin Woodard is a revolutionary and revelatory take on how America’s myriad have shaped our past and are molding our future.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is an epic novel set in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico in the 1840s. It follows the story of a young man, known as “the kid”, who joins the Glanton gang, a group of scalp hunters and murderers led by the evil Judge Holden.
Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy is a dark and haunting tale of mankind’s blindness, set against a bleak backdrop. The novel follows the story of Rinthy, a woman who discovers her brother has left her newborn baby in the woods to die.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a post-apocalyptic novel that follows the journey of a father and son as they traverse a barren landscape in search of a better life.
Postmodernism: Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler is a book that explores the key ideas of postmodernists and their engagement with theory, literature, the visual arts, film, architecture, and music.
Boomsday by Christopher Buckley is a political satire about the rivalry between Baby Boomers and younger generations of Americans. The novel follows the story of Cassandra Devine, a 29-year-old blogger who incites massive public outrage over the mounting Social Security debt.
Born To Run by Chris MacDougall is a non-fiction book about the author’s adventures into the highly secluded Mexican Copper Canyons to learn about an Indian tribe of “super athletes” called the Tarahumara. The Tarahumara were legendary for their ability to run straight for days at a time, in sandals, on a primitive, vegetarian diet.
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau is a book about embarking on a quest to fill your life with a sense of purpose.
Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction by Chris Gosden is an exploration of the new landscape of our prehistory and how different geographical locations weave together.
Made to Stick is a book written by Chip and Dan Heath that examines the six traits that make ideas stick in our brains. The authors explore advertising campaigns, urban myths, and compelling stories to determine the six traits that make ideas stick.
These traits are –
The authors provide practical advice on how to make ideas more memorable and effective.
Switch by Chip Heath is a book that explores the concept of change and how it can be achieved. The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, use the metaphor of a rider and an elephant to explain the two sides of our brains: the rational side (the Rider) and the emotional side (the Elephant).
Free – Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson is a book that explores the concept of offering things for free and how it has evolved from a marketing gimmick to a sustainable business strategy.
The book looks at how the internet has changed the way we view value, and how free and freemium models are changing the way we sell products.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport is a book about learning how to draw the line with technology, taking more time away from digital devices, while focusing your online time on activities that support your values and goals.
Small Giants by Bo Burlingham is a book that examines the idea of staying small but mighty in business. The book explores the idea of passing up deliberate growth for staying true to what’s really important, which is your ideals, time, passions, and doing what you do best so well that customers can’t help but flock to you.
Charity Detox by Bob Lupton is a book that examines the traditional approach to charity and philanthropy and how it often does more harm than good. The book looks at how charity can be used to perpetuate poverty and how it can be used to create lasting change.
The Alternative Answer by Bob Rice is a book that explains the new world of alternative investing strategies. It shows how to use these new products for inflation-protected income, risk-adjusted growth, and long-term wealth transfer.
Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett is a book that teaches readers how to use design thinking to create a meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling life. The authors, Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, share the content of their popular courses and workshops on life design and teach solid principles and practices for living a meaningful life.
Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson is a travel book that chronicles the author’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. The book follows Bryson and his friend Stephen Katz as they traverse the 2,200 mile trail, encountering a variety of people and places along the way. The book is filled with humorous anecdotes and observations about the natural world, as well as reflections on the history and culture of the Appalachian Trail.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a popular science book that explains some areas of science, using easily understandable language. The book covers topics such as astronomy, the evolution of the atom, and the history of the Earth. It also looks at the history of human beings and how they have shaped the world.
Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson is a non-fiction travelogue that follows the American author as he travels around Great Britain one last time before returning to the USA.
Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson is a humorous travelogue that documents the author’s tour of Europe in 1990. The book follows Bryson as he retraces his first backpacking trip through Europe, which he took in the early seventies.
This is my digital home & personal website. I work in marketing, live in Atlanta, have done quite a few things in my short career, have an incredible family, and run this website instead of a social media presence. Read about me here or what I’m doing now here.
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What To Read
This website is not “about” anything. In fact, most posts are private. But, there are plenty of public posts that I hope someone finds useful or entertaining.
Also – I’ve had this site for 15+ years, and I don’t really delete stuff, so my thoughts, opinions, habits, etc may have changed. Here’s how I’ve organized it all.
Photos of stuff I take while out and about – like Instagram used to be.
Guides to doing stuff like hanging IKEA furniture & biking in Atlanta.
Lessons I’ve learned from trying & failing for 30 odd years.
Travel and recounting places I’ve been for work, leisure or adventure.
Opinions that I share even though I’m not a fan of the Internet trolls.
Interesting stuff I find but don’t want to share or submit to social media.
Events and recounting, well, events I’ve attended.
Books Reviews* that recount what I read and what I learned.
*my book reviews are more like broad summaries to help me remember what all I’ve read. I’ve used an LLM AI to summarize some of the books while I write what I liked / disliked / learned from it.
Outdoors and all things hiking, camping, canoeing & running.
Product Reviews where I write about items and companies and…stuff.
Or keep browsing below to read my recent public posts.
I did deep dive on just how bad long baseball games had gotten by the 2021 season. As much as I loved baseball, the sheer length of games had gotten to be too much. Between the NFL’s TV ratings and the NBA’s social media domination – way too many people were all in on the idea that baseball is irrelevant and dying.
So right now, many people are generally going nuts about a type of artificial intelligence that uses LLMs.
I’ve been a heavy user in the past month and am using LLM AIs to run large portions of my business. I’ve even used it to help me organize my book reviews on this website.
They are impressive, but they don’t interact with the physical world, so what’s to worry about?
Well, I think it’s less to do with AIs per se, and more with what humans can do with them. By manipulating language, symbols, and culture, they can mess with humans’ foundational operating system – the stuff that allows 8 billion of us to cooperate and generally get along at an unimaginable scale compared to history or other species – and generally sow chaos and confusion.
Yuval Noah Harari spelled out this worry in The Economist.
Here is his conclusion –
Unregulated AI deployments would create social chaos, which would benefit autocrats and ruin democracies. Democracy is a conversation, and conversations rely on language. When AI hacks language, it could destroy our ability to have meaningful conversations, thereby destroying democracy.
We have just encountered an alien intelligence, here on Earth. We don’t know much about it, except that it might destroy our civilisation. We should put a halt to the irresponsible deployment of AI tools in the public sphere, and regulate AI before it regulates us.Yuval Noah Harari for The Economist
Ok, so those are some big claims.
So – what can GPT-4, currently the best LLM AI come up with? Can it actually come up with new, believable identities?
Let’s take 15 minutes and see!
We’ll try 2 new religions and 2 new national identities.
I will include my written prompts; otherwise, everything is 100% unedited AI written.
The Religions Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK is an informative and engaging guide to the world’s major religions. This book explores the beliefs that underpin religious traditions around the globe, and how they developed.
Bill Bryson’s African Diary is a 2002 book that details the author’s trip to Kenya. The book is written in a humorous tone and follows Bryson as he visits poverty-fighting projects run by CARE International, to which he donated all royalties for the book.
At Home by Bill Bryson is a book that takes readers on a tour of the modern home, using each room as an occasion to reminisce about the history of its tradition.
I’m A Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson is a collection of essays written for a British audience, reflecting on the author’s experience of returning to America after living in England for two decades.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman is a narrative history book that was first published in 1978 and won the 1980 U.S. National Book Award in History.
The main title, A Distant Mirror, conveys Tuchman’s thesis that the death and suffering of the 14th century reflect those of the 20th century, particularly the horrors of World War I.
Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick is a 2009 nonfiction book based on interviews with North Korean refugees from the city of Chongjin who had escaped North Korea.
Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle is a philosophical work that explores the nature of morality and how it can be achieved. It consists of ten books or scrolls, which are based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum. The title is often assumed to refer to his son Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated or who may have edited it.